Alabama defends Liz Murphey title
Kirby captures first individual title to propel No. 2 Crimson Tide
ATHENS, Ga. -- Jennifer Kirby captured the first medalist honor of her career and No. 2 Alabama posted a 12-shot victory at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic on Sunday at the par-72, 6,335-yard University of Georgia Golf Course.
It is the third team title of the 2011-12 season and the second consecutive win at the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic for the Crimson Tide. UA finished with a tournament-record 10-under 854 after a 1-over-par 289 in the final round. The Tide broke the 1999 Georgia team's record of 4-under par.
"We set the tournament scoring record at 10-under par and won by 12 shots, so you have to be happy," Alabama coach Mic Potter said following Sunday's round. "We played well the better part of the time, but still had some issues early in the round -- especially in the short game.
"I'm excited about Jennifer's [Kirby] win and it was great to get both Stephanie [Meadow] and Brooke [Pancake] in the top 10. Hannah [Collier] played well for us today and Johanna [Tillström] gave of two 73s this weekend. It was a great team win, and we have a few things to work on when we get back, so you can't ask for anything more as a coach."
No. 9 Georgia, who hosted the event, finished second, 12-strokes behind Alabama at 2-over 866. Florida shot the lowest round of day with a 5-under 283, but fell one-shot short of the Bulldogs at 3-over 867. Virginia was fourth at 9-over 873 with South Carolina fifth at 11-over 875. Auburn was seventh at 879 while Arkansas was ninth at 886.
For Kirby it marked her first career title at Alabama. She tied for first earlier this season at the Mason Rudolph Fall Preview, but lost in a playoff. Kirby shot 1-under 71 on Sunday to edge Purdue's Laura Gonzalez by one stroke. Kirby finished at 7-under 209 after rounds of 66, 72 and 71.
Her teammates Brooke Pancake and Stephanie Meadow both recorded top-10 finishes, tying for sixth place at 3-under-par 213. Hannah Collier tied for 47th at 10-over 226 while Johanna Tillström tied for 49th at 11-over 227.
Meadow, who just returned from a Curtis Cup training camp for the Great Britain and Ireland team in Scotland, equaled Kirby's 1-under on Sunday to pace UA and finish tied for sixth after three consecutive rounds of 71. Pancake shot 1-over 73 on Sunday after a 68 in round one and an even-par 72 in round two.
Collier finished strong on Sunday to tally Alabama's fourth and final counting score, a 2-over-par 74. She played the final 12 holes in 1-under par to help the Tide secure the team title. Tillström, who had matching 73s in the first two rounds, shot 81 in the final loop.